Stranger Things is a Netflix gem that never seems to lose popularity. Ever since Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) disappeared and Eleven (Milly Bobby Brown), a girl with psychokinetic powers, appeared, we’ve remained glued to the screen, watching our favorite characters battle against increasingly terrifying threats. 

Season 4 dropped recently and has thrown up several talking points, including the sexuality of a leading character. The new season sees Stranger Things depart from Hawkins, Indiana, as the characters spread across the planet.

Nevertheless, Stranger Things remains tied to Hawkins, the sleepy Indiana town that hid terrifying and monstrous secrets.  

Hawkins is not a real town but features real street names

Stranger Things’ creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, wanted to base the show in the coastal town of Montauk, New York, and nearby Long Beach. The town’s links with the film Jaws attracted the Duffer brothers.

However, they ditched the idea for a real location as it limited their creativity. The brothers went for Hawkins, Indiana, and littered it with memories from their childhood. For instance, some of the street and neighborhood names are from Durham, North Carolina, the Duffer brothers’ home. 

“We started to talk a lot about Castle Rock, Stephen King’s fictional town (in Maine). We thought, ‘How cool would it be to create our own fictional town?’ Then we’re not bound by anything in the real world. We could do whatever we want,” Matt Duffer told IndyStar

The pair filmed their fictional town in Georgia, a state offering incentives and tax breaks to film and television productions. Stranger Things uses Atlanta and surrounding neighborhoods as stand-ins for the fictional Hawkins. 

You can’t visit Hawkins, but you can tour the Georgia locations where filming occurs. Some local businesses have capitalized on the show’s popularity, offering tourists special menu items and photo opportunities. 

Stranger Things was also filmed in Lithuania and New Mexico

With some characters moving away from Hawkins, the Duffer Brothers found other locations to film the show. 

The cold Russian prison that holds Hopper in season 4 was a Lithuanian Prison named Lukiskes Prison. It closed in 2019 and became a tourist attraction. 

Eleven and the Byers moved to the fictional Lenora Hills in California. The scenes at the fictitious location were filmed in various towns in New Mexico, including Los Lunas and Albuquerque. 

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